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The HSBC World Rugby Hong Kong 7s started yesterday with the opening pool rounds of the Women’s Qualifying Championship. The winner of this tournament will qualify as the 12th team in next year’s Women’s 7s event, replacing the team that finishes last in this season’s six contests. 

It’s another indicator that World Rugby seeks to expand Women’s 7s rugby footprint, nurturing new teams by providing additional competitive contests. The goal, perhaps, is to expand the Women’s twelve teams to sixteen participants like the Men.

This year’s Qualifying tournament witnessed opening rounds in three pools of four teams each, with eight advancing into the next round.

The eight nations moving to the quarterfinals were: Japan (3-0), Netherlands, Belgium, Hong Kong, South Africa, Italy, and Papua New Guinea (2-1), and China (1-2).

The four losers were Jamaica, Argentina, Colombia, and Kenya.

Preliminary rounds were played in So Kon Pro Recreation Ground with the finals scheduled for the Hong Kong Stadium.